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Atlantis to hangar
After its safe landing to end mission STS-115, space shuttle Atlantis is towed from the Kennedy Space Center runway to hangar 1 of the Orbiter Processing Facility for post-flight deservicing and the start of preparations leading to its next mission, STS-117.


STS-115 landing
Space shuttle Atlantis glides to a smooth touchdown on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 33 at 6:21 a.m. to conclude the successful STS-115 mission that restarted construction of the space station.


Soyuz TMA-9 docking
The Russian Soyuz TMA-9 space capsule carrying the Expedition 14 resident crew and space tourist Anousheh Ansari safely docks to the International Space Station's Zvezda service module.


Expedition 14 launch
This extended duration movie follows the Soyuz rocket from the final countdown through arrival in orbit with the Expedition 14 crew. The video shows the three-stage rocket's ascent from Baikonur Cosmodrome and includes views of Mike Lopez-Alegria, Mikhail Tyurin and Anousheh Ansari from cameras inside the capsule.


Mission of Expedition 14
The voyage of Expedition 14 aboard the International Space Station is expected to see major construction activities for the outpost. Learn more about the mission in this narrated mission preview movie.


STS-31: Opening window to the Universe
The Hubble Space Telescope has become astronomy's crown jewel for knowledge and discovery. The great observatory was placed high above Earth following its launch aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The astronauts of STS-31 recount their mission in this post-flight film presentation.

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STS-34: Galileo launch
The long voyage of exploration to Jupiter and its many moons by the Galileo spacecraft began on October 18, 1989 with launch from Kennedy Space Center aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. The crew of mission STS-34 tell the story of their flight to dispatch the probe -- fitted with an Inertial Upper Stage rocket motor -- during this post-flight presentation film.

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Atlantis on the move
Space shuttle Atlantis is transported to the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building where the ship will be mated to the external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters for a late-August liftoff.


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Pluto-bound New Horizons craft snaps image of Jupiter
Posted: September 27, 2006

Blazing along its path to Pluto, NASA's New Horizons has come within hailing distance of Jupiter. The first picture of the giant planet from the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken Sept. 4, is a tantalizing promise of what's to come when New Horizons flies through the Jupiter system early next year.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
New Horizons was still 291 million kilometers (nearly 181 million miles) away from Jupiter when LORRI took the photo. As New Horizons comes much closer, next January and February, LORRI will take more-detailed images.

"These first LORRI images of Jupiter are awe-inspiring," says New Horizons Project Scientist Hal Weaver, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), where LORRI was designed and built. "New Horizons is speeding toward this majestic planet at 45,000 miles per hour, right on target for a close encounter on February 28 of next year. LORRI's resolution at Jupiter will be 125 times better than now, and we're really looking forward to getting the most detailed views of the Jovian system since Cassini's flyby in late 2000 and Galileo's final images in 2003."

LORRI snapped this image during a test sequence to help prepare for the Jupiter encounter observations. It was taken close to solar opposition, meaning that the Sun was almost directly behind the camera when it spied Jupiter. This makes Jupiter appear blindingly bright, about 40 times brighter than Pluto will be for LORRI's primary observations when New Horizons encounters the Pluto system in 2015. To avoid saturation, the camera's exposure time was kept to 6 milliseconds. This image was, in part, a test to see how well LORRI would operate with such a short exposure time.

"LORRI's first Jupiter image is all we could have expected," says LORRI Principal Investigator Andy Cheng, of APL. "We see belts, zones and large storms in Jupiter's atmosphere. We see the Jovian moons Io and Europa, as well as the shadows they cast on Jupiter. It is most gratifying to detect these moons against the glare from Jupiter."

LORRI wasn't the only New Horizons instrument peeking at Jupiter on Sept. 4; the Ralph imager also performed some important calibrations. "We rapidly scanned Ralph's Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera [MVIC] across Jupiter to test a technique we plan to employ near closest approach next February. We also observed Jupiter in the infrared using Ralph's Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array [LEISA]," says Ralph Program Manager Cathy Olkin, of the Southwest Research Institute. "Everything worked great."

New Horizons won't observe Jupiter again until early January 2007, when periodic monitoring will begin, followed by intensive observations at the end of February. The spacecraft will also continue to look at the Jovian magnetosphere for several months after closest approach.

"New Horizons is headed to a spectacular science encounter with the Jupiter system early next year," says mission Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute. "The first LORRI images of Jupiter just whet our appetite for the observations to come."

New Horizons, the first spacecraft to Pluto and the distant Kuiper Belt region, launched on Jan. 19, 2006. Stern leads the mission and science team as principal investigator. APL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate and is operating the spacecraft in flight.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not for profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, conducts research and development primarily for national security and for nondefense projects of national and global significance.